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FEMA’s initial Hurricane Ian prep: Lots of water and meals to move

Staging going on in Alabama and Florida as storm nears

Photo: Jim Allen/FreightWaves

The Federal Emergency Management Agency has kicked into high gear in preparation for Hurricane Ian.

The most immediate impact on trucking will be the need to get water and meals into the affected areas. FEMA, in a statement, said it is staging supplies at Maxwell Air Force Base in Montgomery, Alabama. Those supplies include 3.5 million liters of water and 3.6 million meals. 

Elsewhere in Alabama, FEMA said it has supplies of more than a million liters of water, more than 480,000 meals and more than 7,200 cots. The agency said that “additional supplies are en route” as well.

Last year, in the run-up to Hurricane Ida, which hit Louisiana, FEMA’s media relations team gave FreightWaves information on its deployment of trucks for rescue operations. It said two days after landfall that it had contracted with 1,571 trucks “and counting.” It also said that it had more than 250 “pre-approved transportation service providers” that FEMA uses to haul supplies. It has no dedicated capacity.

The transportation providers include not only truckload carriers, but also 3PLs, FEMA said at the time. 

“While water and meals are the largest use of trucks, we also  move generators, cots, blankets, tarps, and other response commodities,” the agency said in the run-up to Ida.

FEMA will hold a press briefing Wednesday at 10 a.m. EDT to discuss further steps it is taking. 

Among other highlights in FEMA’s statement about its preparations for Ian, the agency said:

— A power restoration team from the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers is deploying to Craig Field in Alabama. FEMA has ordered four generator packs, which contain a total of 117 units. Fuel supplies are being staged at Warner Robins Air Force Base in Georgia.

— Outside of the deployment of agency personnel into Atlanta, Maxwell Air Force Base and Tallahassee, Florida, no reservists have been deployed. But FEMA said it has more than 4,000 reservists available to deploy and 7,500 “surge capacity force members” who are “rostered to deploy if needed. … The agency is establishing a personnel mobilization center to expedite forward movement when needed.”

In other developments, GasBuddy, which tracks fuel availability and prices, posted an update on the number of stations reporting fuel outages. It does not specify whether these are gasoline or diesel outages, or both, but GasBuddy’s focus has always tended to be on gasoline. It showed a significant increase in outages from earlier Tuesday.

John Kingston

John has an almost 40-year career covering commodities, most of the time at S&P Global Platts. He created the Dated Brent benchmark, now the world’s most important crude oil marker. He was Director of Oil, Director of News, the editor in chief of Platts Oilgram News and the “talking head” for Platts on numerous media outlets, including CNBC, Fox Business and Canada’s BNN. He covered metals before joining Platts and then spent a year running Platts’ metals business as well. He was awarded the International Association of Energy Economics Award for Excellence in Written Journalism in 2015. In 2010, he won two Corporate Achievement Awards from McGraw-Hill, an extremely rare accomplishment, one for steering coverage of the BP Deepwater Horizon disaster and the other for the launch of a public affairs television show, Platts Energy Week.